Reducing the risk of catching coronavirus

University of Exeter expert in Communicable Disease Control and Infectious disease management, Dr Bharat Pankhania discusses how we can reduce the risk of catching coronavirus (COVID-19).

How to reduce your risk
Wash your hands
Self Isolation

Studying and Placements abroad (Exeter and Cornwall)

Latest update – Thursday 26 March, 16:00

The Government has announced that everyone must now stay at home, except in exceptional circumstances, to protect our NHS and save lives. 

We will commence online or remote teaching from Monday 23 March. Examinations and assessments will also take place remotely, with alternative arrangements where appropriate. Further information can be found in the sections below, and for staff and students within your emails.

The Government also advises students remaining at university in England should not attempt to travel. Following guidance from Public Health England and the Department for Education, we advise that anyone in student accommodation (for example University residences) does not undertake further travel, we also advise you only leave your accommodation for the following reasons:

  • Shopping for basic necessities
  • One form of exercise a day
  • Medical needs
  • To provide essential care or help to a vulnerable person, or to travel to or from work where this cannot be done from home

Please continue to check the FAQs below for updated information and guidance.

Frequently asked questions

Please note the advice on this page may change, particularly as there are ongoing updates to the Government guidance.

Respect in our community

We know that outbreaks can take place anywhere in the world. Internationally, nationally and locally there have been incidents of xenophobic and racist behaviour and abuse.

We emphasise the need to show respect, kindness and compassion for all during this uncertain time. Inappropriate behaviour or harassment of any kind will not be tolerated. This is a hate crime and is against the law.

If you experience, or are witness to, any behaviour of this type, please report it to the police immediately. You can also report it to the University via our Speak Out web pages. We will investigate this and, where necessary, disciplinary procedures will be followed.

If you are feeling anxious during this time, further support is available via our wellbeing webpages.

We have signed an open letter with partners across Exeter on tackling hate crime and racism in our community, particularly in light of recent incidents in relation to coronavirus. This is a time when we must work together and support each other - not create more division and hurt. Read the letter in full​

Travel advice and updates

Advice for those intending to travel abroad and for those returning to the UK from specific countries is changing rapidly. 

Before travelling, or making plans to travel, you must check the latest advice from the Government’s Foreign Travel Advice website. This has links to detailed advice for every country/territory, and you should make sure to check the ‘Summary’ and ‘Health’ sections for the country/territory you are travelling to. There is also a facility to sign up for email alerts for the country/territory you are visiting. 

The Government has now withdrawn their advice for travellers returning from specific countries and areas and this has been superseded by ‘stay at home’ guidance on what to do if you have confirmed or possible coronavirus infection. Those returning to the UK from overseas should familiarise themselves with this guidance.

Please also stay up-to-date with our University specific advice and guidance on travel.

UPDATED UNIVERSITY TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS

The University has made the decision to temporarily suspend all international travel for work or study purposes, unless deemed essential.

We have attempted to contact all staff and postgraduate students who are currently abroad. If you have not done so already, please confirm your current position to insurance@exeter.ac.uk, including whether you are:

a) remaining overseas (if so, please confirm that you have risk assessed and are safe)
b) you have returned to the UK or your home location, or
c) you are in the process of or making plans to return. If you need assistance, please let us know how best to contact you and we will arrange for someone to get in touch.

The safety of our staff and students is of paramount importance, therefore we suggest you complete our coronavirus travel risk assessment form before considering any travel; including personal travel or travel within the UK.

You will know that the situation is changing all the time. Please check the Foreign Travel Advice website and your emails for updated information.

Trips booked within the next month should be cancelled. Once the trip has been cancelled please let your supervisor or line manager, and the insurance team (insurance@exeter.ac.uk) know that you are no longer planning to travel.

If you are currently overseas for work or study purposes and would like to return to the UK please contact your supervisor or line manager for guidance or contact us via coronavirusenquiries@exeter.ac.uk. Supervisors and managers may need to seek further advice from their College or Professional Service.

Staff and Postgraduates must have completed the online travel form via: www.exeter.ac.uk/cgr/insuranceauditandrisk/insurancepolicies/travel/

Students must have arranged appropriate insurance, either via the University undergraduate travel insurance provider (www.exeter.ac.uk/cgr/insuranceauditandrisk/insurancepolicies/travel/undergraduatetravelinsurance/), or a provider of their choice.

Advice for those intending to travel abroad and for those returning to the UK from specific countries is changing rapidly. 

Before travelling, or making plans to travel, you must check the latest advice from the Government’s Foreign Travel Advice website. This has links to detailed advice for every country/territory, and you should make sure to check the ‘Summary’ and ‘Health’ sections for the country/territory you are travelling to. There is also a facility to sign up for email alerts for the country/territory you are visiting. 

The Government has now withdrawn their advice for travellers returning from specific countries and areas and this has been superseded by ‘stay at home’ guidance on what to do if you have confirmed or possible coronavirus infection. Those returning to the UK from overseas should familiarise themselves with this guidance.

Please also stay up-to-date with our University specific advice and guidance on travel.

UPDATED UNIVERSITY TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS

If you are currently abroad for work or study purposes and would like to consider returning to the UK please contact your supervisor or line manager for guidance or contact us via coronavirusenquiries@exeter.ac.uk. Supervisors and managers may need to seek further advice from their College or Professional Service.

Staff and Postgraduates must have completed the online travel form via: www.exeter.ac.uk/cgr/insuranceauditandrisk/insurancepolicies/travel/

Students must have arranged appropriate insurance, either via the University undergraduate travel insurance provider (www.exeter.ac.uk/cgr/insuranceauditandrisk/insurancepolicies/travel/undergraduatetravelinsurance/), or a provider of their choice.

Advice for Study Abroad students

All marks that you receive throughout the academic year, including examination results, are provisional until they have been through the University’s Assessment, Progression and Awarding Committees (APACs). For study and work abroad programmes, these normally take place in the autumn after all assessments have been completed and marks have been received from host institutions or employers. Each year we follow robust quality assurance measures, including participation by both internal and external examiners, when scrutinising and finalising assessment results (including examinations). The process includes careful consideration of module level performance to ensure our students’ academic outcomes have not been impacted by any factors beyond their control.

 As part of the review, the University’s APACs (exam boards) may identify modules where the marks of students are significantly different from that we would expect based on comparative data. In these instances, module marks may be ‘scaled’ (i.e. adjusted so that standards are comparable across modules assessed at the same level). Further information on the process can be found in the Teaching Quality Assurance Manual 

Where you are requested to return early by either your host institution, the University or your work placement provider, you should make every endeavour to comply with this request. The health and safety of our students is paramount to the University. In line with our exceptional circumstances for placements abroad policy we will make every effort to ensure that alternative forms of study/work and assessment are made available to ensure that the academic requirements of your placement abroad are met. Examples of alternative forms that may be introduced could include: alternative provision provided by the University Exeter; alternative provision provided by the host institution (likely to be virtual/online); study/work placement at an alternative partner organisation; Summer School; etc. Where required, additional individual impacts will continue be considered through the mitigation process.

We understand some of you may be concerned about the potential impact of COVID-19 on your study abroad or work placement next year. We are working closely with all of our partner institutions and employers to resolve these queries as soon as possible. The University, and our partners, continue to monitor the situation and will ensure students are updated as soon as we have further information. Student experience, including your safety, wellbeing and academic opportunities, takes priority in all of our decisions. Please don’t worry and await further communication from us.

Teaching will be made available online from 23 March until further notice and lab-based project work will be subject to individual risk assessment. Examinations and Assessments will take place online until further notice with alternative arrangements in place where required. You will still be registered as an Exeter student and University accommodation will remain open for the remainder of the academic year.

We advise you to make plans to go home over the next few days if you are able to do so.

We have made important adjustments and preparations which will allow you as an exchange student to return home.

1) Email your home university and inbound@exeter.ac.uk with your decision and your dates of travel.
2) Email your module convenors about your upcoming assessments that cannot be submitted or completed remotely. Your College will be in contact with information about alternative assessments in due course.
3) If you are in University accommodation, email SID with notice that you are leaving early:
Subject line: Accommodation: Exchange Student Early Departure

We are monitoring updates on coronavirus closely and will continue to provide as much advice, care and support as we can to our University community.

For any additional queries concerning your exchange, please contact inbound@exeter.ac.uk

The University campuses are open only for essential services. Some areas remain open for use, such as study spaces and the Penryn Library, but we ask everyone to follow the guidance on social distancing, provided by the Government.

We have advised students to go home if they are able. From Monday 23 March we are moving to online/remote delivery of teaching, where possible. In addition to this, from 23 March, Examinations and Assessments will take place online until further notice, with alternative arrangements in place where required.

We have also asked staff to work from home where possible. Essential operational staff are still on our campuses, for example Accommodation Catering teams, Estate Patrol and certain Technical Services staff.

All University events, both on and off campus until the end of May 2020, have been cancelled with immediate effect and the sports facilities on all campuses are closed.

Third parties and contractors should seek advice from their line management.

Students

Your wellbeing is extremely important to us and we would like to highlight the resources that are available to support you, if needed. This includes our self-help tool, SilverCloud and our Wellbeing Services at both our Exeter and Cornwall campuses.

Staff

There are a number of support services available to staff during this period. Our self-help tool, Pro-Counselling, can be used to access 24/7 telephone counselling via our online portal, as well as a range of well-being resources and guides. You can also talk to your line manager if you have any queries.

Public Health England (PHE) have updated their advice on what to do if you experience symptoms of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are:

- new continuous cough and/or
- high temperature and/or
- shortness of breath/breathing difficulties

If you have symptoms, however mild, please self-isolate for 7 days from when your symptoms started. If you need to self-isolate please let us know so we can make sure you have access to any support you may need. 

If you live with others and you or one of them have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill. For anyone in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14 day isolation period. 

Students

Following our decision to ask students to go home where possible, we are no longer collating information on absence from face to face teaching.

If you are self-isolating, or remaining, in student accommodation: either on campus, in an external student accommodation provider or in privately owned student accommodation, please notify us by email on coronavirusenquiries@exeter.ac.uk giving the following details:

1. Full name
2. Student Number
3. Address - including if you are living in Exeter or Cornwall
4. Period of self-isolating - start and end date
5. Contact telephone number

These details will then be passed to the relevant staff who will contact you to ensure you have access to the support you may need.

You no longer need to use the LISA attendance monitoring system to record absences. From Monday 23 March we are moving to online/remote delivery of teaching, where possible. In addition to this, from 23 March, Examinations and Assessments will take place online until further notice, with alternative arrangements in place where required.

If you have any queries email us on coronavirusenquiries@exeter.ac.uk

Staff

Please use the staff online form to let us know if you are self-isolating. You should also follow the guidance in the Staff FAQ “Reporting Absence – When and how do I report absence?”

Information about pay arrangements can be found online

Contact details for emergencies and out of hours help are listed below:

- Exeter: contact Estate Patrol on 01392 723999 (24 hours)
- Cornwall: contact the Living Support Team on 01326 255341 or via email: ls-team@fxplus.ac.uk (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm) or the Security and Night Support team on 01326 253503 (evenings 5pm to 9am and weekends)

You do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation, but please contact us using the details above. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency always dial 999.

Please follow the comprehensive PHE guidance at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidancewww.gov.uk/government/publications/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-self-isolation-for-patients-undergoing-testing/advice-sheet-home-isolation

This provides a range of guidance on items such as washing, sharing household items and covering your face.

If you live with others and you or one of them have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill. For anyone in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14 day isolation period.If you are living with someone who is self-isolating, you should ensure they are separate from everyone else in your home, as the virus can easily be transmitted at close quarters. This means not socialising with that person and where possible using a separate bathroom. If this is not available, then regular cleaning is required. You should also avoid sharing household items, such as dishes, glasses, cups, utensils, towels, bedding or other items with other people in your home.

You do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.

If you are self-isolating, we ask you to consider the actions you can take to keep our community safe. This includes staying away from vulnerable individuals, for example the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, as much as possible. Please try to stay at least 2 metres (about 3 steps) away from other people in your home whenever possible, and sleep alone if you can.

 

We know for some that coronavirus is of increased concern. Those with chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, may feel particularly vulnerable. If you have an existing or underlying health condition and you are worried about your health regarding the coronavirus, we would encourage you to use the NHS 111 online tool.

The NHS will be contacting around 1.2 million people at the highest risk of complications, such as patients having treatment for cancer or people on immunosuppressant therapy, who will be asked to isolate at home for 12 weeks to protect themselves. They will get special guidance from the NHS.

General updates on coronavirus (COVID-19)

Common signs of the infection include a fever, cough, or shortness of breath.

The Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England (PHE) update the UK’s COVID-19 information on a regular basis.

PHE have created a blog ‘Novel Coronavirus: what you need to know’. The World Health Organisation (WHO) have also created a dedicated website for information and guidance. 

To find out more about what the health and social care system across the UK has done to tackle the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, and what it plans to do next, please read the  Coronavirus action plan: a guide to what you can expect across the UK.

Face masks play a very important role in clinical settings, such as hospitals but there’s very little evidence of widespread benefit from their use outside of these clinical settings. Facemasks must be worn correctly, changed frequently, removed properly and disposed of safely in order to be effective. 

Public Health England (PHE) is advising those who are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures. The Government have identified those that are classified as extremely vulnerable, and those that are at increased risk of severe illness, online.

Guidance on those who are at increased risk of severe illness
Guidance on who is classified as extremely vulnerable

If you are classed as extremely vulnerable, your GP or the NHS in England will contact you directly with advice about the more stringent measures you should take, in order to keep yourself and others safe. For now, you should rigorously follow the social distancing advice from PHE.

If you are worried about your health regarding the coronavirus, you can use the NHS 111 online tool or contact your GP for further advice.
If you are a member of staff, you can talk to your line manager about being in a high risk category.
If you are a student, you can contact your GP or relevant health professional for advice. If you would like Wellbeing support, you can contact Wellbeing Services.

 

The Government has released a document on social distancing measures. Social distancing measures are steps you can take to reduce the social interaction between people.

They are:

  1. Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough; 
  2. Avoid non-essential use of public transport, varying your travel times to avoid rush hour, when possible;  
  3. Work from home, where possible. Your employer should support you to do this. Please refer to employer guidance for more information 
  4. Avoid large gatherings, and gatherings in smaller public spaces such as pubs, cinemas, restaurants, theatres, bars, clubs 
  5. Avoid gatherings with friends and family. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media. 
  6. Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services.

Everyone should be trying to follow these measures as much as is pragmatic.